The Walkie Talkie is a large skyscraper in the city of London. The official name of the building is 20 Fenchurch Street, but the nickname has become so popular that almost no one refers to the official name.
The nick name Walkie-Talkie is derived from the shape of the building which resembles the famous radio communication device. The 34-storey building is 160 m (525 ft) tall, making it the fifth-tallest building in the City of London. Designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and costing over £200 million, 20 Fenchurch Street features a highly distinctive top-heavy form which it appears to burst upward and outward. A large viewing deck, bar and restaurants are included on the top three floors; these are, with restrictions, open to the public.
The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street spans three floors and offers uninterrupted views across the City of London. The building won the Carbuncle Cup in 2015, awarded by Building Design magazine to the worst new building in the UK. Royal Town Planning Institute described the building as “a daily reminder never to let such a planning disaster ever happen again. This building is infamous for having used reflective glass on the façade. The building’s overall concave design has been charged with creating a down draft powerful enough to melt vehicles which were parked directly in the path of the suns reflected rays.
Besides this the central London skyscraper had already melted cars with a “death ray” caused by its reflective glass before it even finished construction. Still, not content with burning people, the Walkie Talkie started blowing them away. The building was found to have a rather embarrassing wind problem after the down draft caused by the 37-storey tower was accused of almost blowing pedestrians into the road and whisking food trolleys away in the summer. The phenomenon has prompted the planners to introduce tougher guidelines and insist on independent wind studies. Eleanor Jolliffe described it as a ‘Bond villain tower’, as it could melt your car with solar beam from the space.
Its successful grant of planning permission also became in itself a public scandal, given that the planner’s report warned that it would cause “significant visual harm.” This is a lesson for the designers to carry out in-depth study before the construction of any mega structure.